How to Serve a Divorce Complaint
Without a doubt, getting a divorce is a trying and stressful experience. The fact that you’re thinking about divorce means you’ve already faced your share of hardship. Now you’re prepared to move forward with the action as fast as possible.
Fortunately, divorce in North Carolina can be a relatively straightforward process. If you and your spouse agree and meet the necessary requirements, just fill out the divorce paperwork and file it. Once filed, a divorce complaint has to be served by the County Sheriff or by certified mail.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse do not agree on the divorce terms, you should consider mediation. Given that you have significant disagreements, you should seek legal advice from a divorce attorney in Monroe, NC.
Filing Divorce Papers in North Carolina
Since every divorce case is different, your required paperwork, sometimes called Divorce Papers, might not be the same as that another couple fills out. However, some forms are necessary for all divorces: Domestic Civil Action Cover Sheet, Civil Summons, and Complaint for Absolute Divorce. It’s worthwhile to contact a local county court to confirm that you’re filling out the right documents for your specific situation.
North Carolina’s Court System website offers a list of FAQs that can help you gain a better understanding of the divorce process.
After completing the necessary divorce papers, you’ll need to submit them to your county clerk. Make at least two copies of the forms beforehand, one for personal keepsake and one to serve on your spouse.
Additionally, call the clerk before filing to confirm everything you need to bring, including an acceptable payment form for the filing fee. If you can’t pay, you can ask for a fee waiver by filling out a Petition to Sue/Appeal as an Indigent.
Once the fee matter is settled, the clerk will stamp your divorce forms and file them with the appropriate court.
How to Serve Divorce Papers
The law requires you to file copies of the divorce forms on your spouse. That allows him or her to respond to the action and present their side before the divorce is official.
The North Carolina law doesn’t permit you or anybody you know to serve the divorce paperwork. Typically, people opt to serve the papers by hiring a sheriff’s deputy. It might be possible to arrange the service with the local county clerk after you file the papers.
Once your spouse has received the divorce forms, you’ll have to wait for 30 days before scheduling a divorce hearing. After the hearing is scheduled, you’ll fill out a Notice of Hearing, and hand out or mail a copy to your spouse.
The next step will be to provide the court with the following forms: Judgment for Absolute Divorce. You’ll need to carry this document with you to the divorce hearing.
During the hearing, the judge will confirm that you and your spouse have been separated for at least a year. If you and your spouse are both in agreement about the terms of the divorce, the judge may grant your divorce. However, if you have issues regarding property division (equitable distribution) or alimony, you have to reserve these claims with the court when filing your divorce complaint. If you fail to reserve these claims, the absolute divorce will bar these claims.
However, if you don’t agree on child custody, marital property division and other terms, you may have to attend more hearings. It is very important to contact an attorney to discuss reserving these issues.
Are You Looking for Legal Assistance? Give Us a Call
The professional divorce attorneys in Monroe, NC at Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP Law Firm have great experience in handling divorce cases for clients. Call us today to schedule an initial consultation.